1. ITV Report

Norfolk couple's death in Estonia was accidental

Philip Townsend died of carbon monoxide poisoning alongside his wife Mary Anne Photo: East2West

A verdict of accidental death has been recorded for a Norfolk couple whose bodies were discovered at an isolated house in Estonian woodland earlier this year.

Philip Townsend who was 55 and Mary Anne Townsend who was 52 were discovered dead at their holiday home in Valga on the morning of 24th February. The coroner William Armstrong told the inquest that he believed there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the couple's deaths.

“I am entirely satisfied with the police investigation’s findings that there was no violent or suspicious circumstances, or any third-party involvement.”

– William Armstrong, Norfolk coroner

Mr Armstrong related details of the couple's Estonian house, explaining that it had no mains electricity but was powered by two petrol generators. He told the inquest that although Mr Townsend was an 'intelligent and capable man' it appeared he hadn't complied with repeated advice to leave the door to the utility room open, in order to keep it ventilated. This led to the couple being overcome with carbon monoxide poisoning.

Philip and Mary Anne Townsend lived at Wood Dalling Hall, Norfolk Credit: ITV Anglia

The Townsend family lived at Wood Dalling near Aylsham, but Mr Townsend who was a banker, worked during the week in Moscow. Mary Anne Townsend was from Ingoldisthorpe in Norfolk and members of her family, including her sister Caroline Barratt and brother James Wilson, attended the inquest.

Mr Wilson gave evidence to the inquest about his visits to Estonia following the Townsend's deaths. He said he was 'as clear as it's possible to be' that there were no suspicious circumstances.

James Wilson, Mary Anne Townsend's brother, attending the inquest today Credit: ITV Anglia

The coroner extended his deepest sympathy to all affected by the double tragedy, but principally to the Townsend's two teenage children. He commended their Norfolk relatives for doing all they could to provide both children with the 'loving, caring, secure family life' which their parents would have wanted.